We’ll know it soon enough, but with the leak that Bank of America is near acquiring Countrywide, several things would appear apparent (at least while we’re playing the guessing game):
1. The Fed is behind the deal.
2. The Fed is behind the deal because the rumors yesterday of a near bankruptcy were probably true.
3. As part of the deal, the government likely agrees to guarantee BofA against Countrywide-related losses.
4. Lost in the in the noise yesterday was that Moody’s downgraded the ratings on 30 (count ‘em — THIRTY!) tranches of Countrywide’s mortgage debt by more than a few notches. They did something similar before American Home Mortgage filed for bankruptcy.
5. Investors bid the stock higher assuming a premium when it’s likely that BofA still needs to fully assess the value of the assets before the deal’s full value will be known.
6. Big question, of course, is what Countrywide investors will get.
7. Rule of thumb with bankruptcies: Stocks often double on their way to zero.
8. BofA gets a free bank and a put to the government.
Menawhile, Jon Najarian of Optionsmonster.com writes:
To say there was HUGE unusual activity in Countrywide Financial ahead of today’s news that Bank America was close to finalizing a deal to buy the troubled mortgage giant would be as surprising as seeing Dennis Kucinich end his presidential run! We show over 304,000 calls traded against 248,000 puts, but the interesting thing here is that the bulk, some 76 percent of these calls were bought before the announcement! To us this means the likelihood of someone being tipped off was quite high. Like Burj Dubai Tower high!